My review of Deer Life will follow the publisher’s blurb.
A humorously dark fairy tale, wherein young Deryn Hedlight (mistakenly) kills a dog that belongs to a witch, setting into motion a series of unexpected events.
Deryn Hedlight was not having a very good day and it was about to get much worse.
He’d read stories of witches as a boy, but never believed for a second they were true. That is, until an unfortunate hunting accident turns his world upside down. An honest mistake, it would seem, leads to an altogether unexpected transformation. But poor Deryn isn’t the only wronged character tied up in these gloomy circumstances and sinister forces.
Deer Life tells the story of a kind-hearted boy from Hinthoven and his mother’s undying love. It’s a wicked fairy tale of witchcraft, bullying, revenge, and a mysterious bowler hat. Mostly though, it’s all about patience, friendship, and heroism where you least expect it.
First things first; before reading Deer Life I didn’t have a clue who Ron Sexsmith was. Yes, I am Canadian. Now that the awkward bits are over, on to my review.
The cover art is absolutely stunning. I couldn’t help but think, not having read the blurb… there must be more to this title than meets the eye.
Deer Life is full of whimsy and delight. It is the perfect book to get lost in when you want to hide away from the world. Also, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a grown up reading a fairy tale ! Come to think of it, that should be printed on a T-Shirt.
Chapter after chapter, I didn’t want to stop reading. There is something uniquely special about reading Deer Life. Perhaps it is because I don’t let my inner child out very often, and this was a much needed indulgence. Reminiscent of the fairy tales of old, the writing is not childish but nuanced and imaginative. It’s poetic and lyrical.
And just as Sexsmith states in the beginning of the novel – his inspiration being Charles Dickens – you wonder how this curious cast of characters will come together in the end.
I loved meeting Tourtière, Big Eyes and the bowler hat. Adding to the enchantement, scattered here and there are Ron Sexsmith’s drawings. I wasn’t too sure about them, but they grew on me.
I found much pleasure in sneaking away from my humdrum to read Deer Life. With only 136 pages, they flew by fast, too fast. If you were spying on me while I was reading it, you’d most definitely notice the smile tattooed on my face. It’s a book to read for the simple delight of reading.
So, be aware that reading Deer Life will put a little nugget of sunlight into your heart. Save a space for it on your shelf when it comes out in September ! Don’t worry, I’ll give you a gentle reminder when this wonderful tale is available.
Deer Life by Ron Sexsmith
Published by Dundurn Press
Available September 2017
*an e-galley of Deer Life was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.